White House: Biden was not casting doubt on the legitimacy of elections

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President Biden holds a press conference
President Biden holds a press conference


White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday said President Biden was not casting doubt on the legitimacy of the upcoming midterm elections in remarks he made at a Wednesday press conference.

"Lets be clear: @POTUS was not casting doubt on the legitimacy of the 2022 election. He was making the opposite point: In 2020, a record number of voters turned out in the face of a pandemic, and election officials made sure they could vote and have those votes counted," Psaki said in a statement.

She argued that Biden was saying that results would be illegitimate if states followed directives made by President Trump in the 2020 election.

"He was explaining that the results would be illegitimate if states do what the former president asked them to do after the 2020 election: toss out ballots and overturn results after the fact. The Big Lie is putting our democracy at risk. We're fighting to protect it," Psaki added.

Biden on Wednesday, during his second solo press conference at the White House, said he would not say the 2022 results would be legitimate without the passage of election law reforms.

"I'm not saying it's going to be legit. The increase in the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these reforms passed," the president said.

He also responded that it "depends" when asked if he thinks the upcoming election results will be legitimate if voting rights legislation doesn't pass.

"Well, it all depends on whether or not we're able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election," he said.

Senate Democrats failed on Wednesday evening to pass voting rights legislation after Sens. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema (D) of Arizona opposed making changes to the filibuster to allow it to pass on a majority vote.

Following Wednesday's press conference, the White House also worked to clarify remarks the president made that Russia would face lesser consequences for launching a "minor" attack against Ukraine.

Psaki quickly sought to clarify Biden's position and tamp down concerns among allies and Ukrainian officials amid warnings Russia could take action imminently.

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